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Computer upgrade - for doing more image and video editing

 
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When I bought my computer, I did very little with video or image processing except watch the occasional youtube video.

A few years and a fancy camera later, I'm doing a lot more image and video processing.  Sometimes my computer complains.

But I bought a tower because it can be upgraded and added to fairly easily.  

In the next week or two, I am hoping to go to the shop that built the computer and ask them to upgrade it.  But first I want to understand what I'm asking them to do.  

My graphics card is pretty pathetic.  So I'm going to ask them if it needs an upgrade.

The actual memory is less than 1/4 full.  So I'm thinking this should be fine.  I also put the video files on an external drive when I'm finished working with them.

But how do I ask for the thinking power?  What are the words for this?  Is it ram?  
It seems to be the acceleration that gets stuck.  If that's the word?  

What do I need to know so I can get the upgrade I need rather than a box-standard upgrade that they sell people who don't know things about computers?

 
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Your 'thinking power' is you motherboard and it is expensive to upgrade.  However, you likely have a lot of options before going to that extreme.  Adding memory and a dedicated upgraded video card will do a lot, especially if it has (or is capable) of having its own dedicated memory on the board.  Also a solid state drive might help the time to load files and save changes.  

By acceleration do you mean the time to load, launch or initiate new programs and processes?  
 
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How old..

Depending on how old it is will depend on if you can upgrade it or not. RAM is constantly changing type which means new ram (DDR5) cannot go on a motherboard that took DDR4/3 etc now DDR5 is brand new (July) so it is expensive,and older processors may not be compatible but building a DDR4 machine will mean there is less room for upgrading it in future.
Which software are you going to be using for video editing? They will probably suggest which graphics card you should go for. the graphics card is going to be the spendy bit. They will also probably say what speed and how many cores you need on a processor and how much RAM I would expect 16G of ram as a minimum and probably 8 core with 3.5GHz as a bare minimum.
For videos a SSD (solid state harddrive) will work much better for you than a traditional HDD and they are not to expensive anymore up to around 1TB in size.


If I were you, If my motherboard took DDR4 RAM I would go with that and build onto it. But if it took DDR3 I would wait 6 months for the DDR5 to drop in price and go with that instead.
 
r ranson
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The computer is 3 or 4 years old, but I buy the best I can afford and had a few extras (like a second hard drive) added when it was built.  It's a lot faster than the newer computers at work.

I got two internal hard drives right now - one for "thinking" and a static drive for remembering.  

But I want more "thinking" power.  When it's getting sluggish, there's a notice about "hardware acceleration" or something like that, which I take to mean "the computer thinking part is pretending to be several thinking parts so it can separate out the different processes into the programmes that think about that thing best, bring them together again, and appear to think faster"  I may be wrong about what it means.  

 
Skandi Rogers
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I think you mean your CPU is struggling, but without knowing what you have we can't really say what is the "worst" part of the computer i,e the most bang for your buck on an upgrade.
 
r ranson
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on window 10, how do I find the list of what I have?
 
Jack Edmondson
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r,

This is only tangential to your question, but something to keep in mind.  There are cloud service (actually for gamers) where one pays a monthly fee to use dedicated hardware (yours) on their server.  They build a computer in a server farm for you.  They pay for the equipment and upkeep.  They promise the latest greatest fastest equipment upgrades at no cost to you other than your subscription fee.  

Recently I tried Shadow and was happy with it, once I worked out the bugs on my end.  The advantage is you get a top of the line computer designed for the type of work you are doing (gaming is very resource/data intensive.)  Your hardware is never out of date and you can access from anywhere.  You do need decent internet access, but since you are processing on the server end, there is not a lot of data going back and for to your home device.  I think I pay about $13 a month, but my home system is 12 years old and cannot be upgraded any further.  So rather than buy an expensive new system I tried this service.  It may be something to look at if your system can't be upgraded to the level you need.  There are a couple of companies doing this.  I can't recommend one over another; but there is a lot of feedback on the 'net, if you want to look into it.
 
Jack Edmondson
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r ranson wrote:on window 10, how do I find the list of what I have?




instruction set
 
r ranson
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does this look like the graphics card information?
g-card.JPG
a card
a card
 
Jack Edmondson
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Yes.
 
r ranson
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So I'm looking at the logs of when the computer gets slow and the system says "high CPU useage by..."

my image processing software
my video processing software
Zoom (when it's thinking about the thing it just recorded during the meeting.
and something called COM Surrogate (which I don't know what it is, but am about to google)
 
r ranson
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Jack Edmondson wrote:Yes.



Is it good?  Bad?

When I bought it, it was the area I saved money on, so I'm guessing it's not great.  
 
r ranson
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Can I install a new graphics card myself or do I need to take the machine to the shop?
 
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You can your own graphics card. If you have a tower, it will be easier.  Do your research as to which card.  Watch out for static electricity.
 
Jack Edmondson
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r ranson wrote:

Jack Edmondson wrote:Yes.



Is it good?  Bad?



That I could not tell you.  I went to the Mac platform about 20 years ago, and don't keep up with PC equipment very much.  I will not call it bad.  I will say there are very good graphics cards out there that should speed things up.  The computer shop will know the best that is compatible with your system.  It is best if it has its own memory built into the board for speed of rendering (also frees up resources from your motherboard.  
 
r ranson
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Thanks everyone.
I'll read up on graphics card and ask the people at the computer store what they suggest.

To be frank, I hate the idea of being without my computer even for a few hours.  I would much rather upgrade it at home.  But can I deal with the frustration?  I haven't done this sort of upgrade since DOS was a thing. Rewriting the bios to make the new drivers match the ... well, anyway.  I hope it's plug and play now.
 
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The specs you showed are for an integrated graphics card.  That means it is physically on the motherboard. So you either have another video card in your system that isn't showing up on those specs or (more likely) you went with the integrated graphics card.  

That's not a bad way to go for most purposes. But video processing is a little different.  There are two types of processors: CPU and GPU.  GPU is graphical processing unit.  It is for doing floating point and vector calculations.  GPUs are basically your video card.  You want a dedicated GPU with its own fans and memory.  Like a little computer inside the computer. You can tell if you have one by opening up the side panel with the two thumbscrews, sliding it off, and seeing if you have a card the size of a paperback book with fans on top.  If you do have one, make sure that is where your monitor cable is plugged into. (that may be why your system is reporting the integrated card.)

If you don't have one, I recommend you look up your motherboard, find the best compatible video card you can afford, and install it.  It's straightforward.  You snap the card into place and attach a cable or two.


I don't think you need to worry too much about your CPU.  It's rare to max that out (unless Zoom goes rogue.) :)  RAM is nice to upgrade because it gives the system more breathing room but isn't the kind of thing that makes your computer get hot and accelerate.  Your hard drives seem ok.



 
 
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If your computer is slowing down, the first thing you do is bring up the Task Manager.  This will give you a list of the processes currently running, and you can quickly spot any that are using high amounts of %cpu power.  On my WinXP I hit control/alt/delete and it pops up.  You can also do that in Windows 10.  And here are some other ways to bring Task Manager up...
https://www.isunshare.com/windows-10/9-ways-to-open-task-manager-in-windows-10.html

The process names won't always make sense to you, but if you see one that is using 30-90% of the %cpu all the time, google it and find out what it's related to.

If your computer has a built in graphics chip, as it seems, those are always slower than good quality dedicated graphics cards.  Graphics cards are usually very easy to install, and you can buy used ones on eBay for cheap (I've done this many times).  But you need to identify your computer so you know which graphics cards will work for you.  Does your computer have a brand name, a model number?  What kind of cpu?  How much memory?  List them here.  If you have a no name computer, try a free software like PC Wizard which will show lists of all the computer components.

Go to a website like TomsHardware.com, look in the forum section, then the graphics cards section...there are many people who would love to help you out with your graphics cards questions.  But you need to know what kind of computer you have, and the cpu etc... or they will be flying blind.

This is easy stuff, educate yourself and then if you want to pay someone to do it for you, at least you will know what they are doing to your computer.
 
r ranson
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I talked to the shop and they suggested the bottle neck is in the processor and the ram.  The graphics card should be able to handle this, but I could upgrade it.  So I'm going to double my ram and see if this can get me through the next few months.  If I still enjoy video editing later, I can upgrade the computer.  

The problem is, once we start upgrading the processor, lots of other things need improving too.  So I can keep about half of what I have in my system and rebuild the new computer around that.  But this is something to start thinking about in a year or so.  
 
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You should check your page file size... and set it to 1.5x the amount of RAM for the low end and 3x the size of RAM for the high end.

https://www.tomshardware.com/news/how-to-manage-virtual-memory-pagefile-windows-10,36929.html - They say 4x for the high end.. I've always done 3x...

You can also make a USB Drive Pagefile.

https://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/windows/forum/windows_10-files/how-to-add-a-pagefile-to-usb-thumb-drive/aa62e44e-811d-4428-bab4-c999ce0050bc


A pagefile is like slower RAM, and it can be limited due to your hard drive speed, so a faster USB pagefile can help reduce rendering time.

I have tested this out on a high-end desktop (around $3-5k) of a good friend of mine, that was purchased 1-2 years ago and is used strictly-ish for video editing. It reduced his rendering time by roughly 30%.

I have a degree in computer forensics, have been doing IT for 15+ years, and run my own IT business... This trick can save $...

 
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